Cloud computing is today’s business rage. Think of it as the computer nerd’s concept for you. Unfortunately, much like the public relations department, with cloud computing, everybody has a different definition of what it is about and what benefits it should provide to those who use it.
Fortunately, in a very narrow sense, cloud computing is much like what used to be known as utility computing or what others call conventional outsourcing.
Cloud computing is most easily thought of as a slew of service providers, large and small, who deliver services–everything from storage capabilities to spam filtering–to users without building additional infrastructure on their internal system. Instead, a company’s IT department serves as a coordinator to providers on a cloud-based service individually, while using integrators that coordinate applications company-wide.
Cloud-based computing encompasses several important components which make it particularly useful in company-wide IT systems.
Firstly we get SaaS (software as a service), which delivers applications through a browser to a practically unlimited number of users within a user base. Just as with any cloud-based program, SaaS is not contained on any one computer, but is available enterprise wide to all users within an organization. SaaS allows users to access to the software without an upfront investment in servers or software licensing. Further, there is only one application to maintain system-wide.
Web services are also available in cloud computing, without delivering full-scale applications on the company systems. Instead, applications are fulfilled over the Internet.
External development is also an important function of cloud computing, since environments are provided externally from the company’s IT system, as opposed to standard development platforms. Instead, the providing of a development platform is a service external to the company’s computer system.
Regardless of the application, the flexibility and capacity offered by cloud computing will be increasingly beneficial in the future.